Data shows more than thirty per cent in cuts to Alberta post-secondary institutions
Calgary – Recently compiled data shows the depth of post-secondary funding cuts over the last five years in Alberta. Data from Higher Education Strategy Associates shows a 31% cut to funding over the last five years and a 9% per cent cut over the last year alone.
While provinces like British Columbia and Quebec have invested in education by bolstering funding over the last five years to the tune of 10% and 16%, respectively, Alberta has made, by far, the deepest cuts of any province.
“Over the last five years, but in the last three especially, Alberta has become a laggard when it comes to both post-secondary funding and student financial aid,” said SU President Nicole Schmidt. “Students are literally paying the price through increased tuition. Students have become a forgotten stakeholder. While the UCP meet with us, they largely fail to take action on student priorities like tuition, student aid, and jobs.”
In addition to massive cuts, the province has allowed tuition to balloon by approximately 25% for UCalgary students. The Minister of Advanced Education also approved double-digit increases to Engineering and Medicine for students starting this fall. The 2022 Alberta budget projects that Alberta students will pay $149 million more in tuition this year than they did last year.
“An Engineering student starting their studies this fall will pay about 60% more in tuition than in 2019,” said President Schmidt. “Students are telling us that they aren’t seeing increases in quality despite paying much, much more for their education. This is a problem and one the province is refusing to address.”
Students are not receiving much support from the Alberta government when it comes to funding their education either. Alberta’s student aid program relies most heavily on debt, meaning that students tackle skyrocketing tuition by going further into debt. Other provinces have a more even mix of debt and grant funding.
Finally, the province continues to fail students by not stepping up to provide a student jobs program. Both Jobs Now, announced last year, and Alberta at Work provide no support to help students find summer work to cover their ever-increasing tuition bills and living expenses. Last summer one in four UCalgary students who wanted full-time summer work were unable to find it. Summer 2022 looks no different.
It is time for the Alberta government to step up and support students through proper funding, student aid, and a jobs program.
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University of Calgary Students’ Union